What's The Best Way To Check The Status Of Your Passport Application?

Preparing for a trip abroad requires good planning, and this includes budgeting enough time to apply or renew your passport so that it's in your hands when you depart for your international trip. Once the application or renewal process starts rolling, it's a waiting game that will test the patience of some.

In the meantime, all you can do is check on the status of your application. There are two ways you can do this. In both cases, the Bureau of Consular Affairs instructs you to prepare the following information: your last name (including hyphens and suffixes), date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number.

For those who prefer to follow up by email, the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) specifically states in its website not to do this. You should only use the agency's email NPIC@state.gov to cancel an appointment, not for checking on the status of your passport application.

Check your passport application status online

If you completed your application or renewal by mail or in person, you'll need to wait two weeks before checking the status of your application. During this period, the Bureau of Consular Affairs says your application and supporting documents are still on their way to the agency. After two weeks, you can go to the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Online Passport Status System. Then enter your last name, date of birth, last four digits of your social security number, and the captcha code.

You'll see one of four possible application status: Not Available, In Process, Approved, or Mailed. You'll see Not Available during the two weeks after your application or renewal, as your application and supporting documents are still on their way to the agency. In Process means your application is currently under review and will take three to five weeks for expedited processing or six to nine weeks for routine processing (excludes mailing times). Approved means the agency will soon print your completed passport, and Mailed means your passport is on your way. Your supporting documents will arrive up to eight weeks after you receive your passport.

For renewals done online, you can check the status of your application by logging in to your MyTravelGov account. For special issuance passport applications, contact your federal travel office or follow SIA status check instructions.

Call the National Passport Information Center

You can also call the NPIC's hotline 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY) for status checks from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time. The hotline is not available on federal holidays. If you can't call during these times, the NPIC status check hotline's automated passport information service is available 24/7. For those applying or renewing their passports outside the United States, you should reach out to your local embassy or consulate.

You can also use the hotline to make an appointment for urgent or emergency travel. Urgent travel means you need to fly abroad within two weeks or 14 days. Emergency travel applies to those who need to fly to another country within 72 hours or three business days due to an immediate family member's life-threatening illness or injury or death. However, the hotline is only available on Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Outside those times, on weekends, and on federal holidays, you should call 202-647-4000.